Before COVID-19, only 29% of Americans could work from home
Around two-thirds of Americans are working remotely.4 And 99% would choose to work remotely at least part-time for the rest of their careers, if possible.
The worldwide shift to remote workforces in unprecedented numbers has brought with it many benefits, such as flexible schedules, lower overhead costs, higher talent access, more scalability, and even higher employee morale. Often, as teams adjust to working virtually, they even experience greater productivity and profitability.
Yet as with any significant industry shift, one must also be aware of the potential downsides of an organizational trend. One of the main risks that a remote workforce can introduce is in online security.
Here are the top risks that can threaten a company’s network and data security if remote workers are involved.
- 91% of HR leaders have implemented some form of work-at-home arrangements since the outbreak1
- On average, companies can save $2,000 per employee by letting them work from home2
If your business is looking for the next level, more advanced analytics can lead to highly sophisticated algorithms for “unsupervised” machine learning, where machine intelligence can pinpoint new potential for human interpreters to exploit. But this level of advanced analytics is not necessary to gain real benefits.
- Unsecure Access – A primary issue is that, when working from home, employees often use personal WiFi systems that do not have appropriate levels of security measures in place. The same goes for those who are enjoying the convenience of working via hotspots or free WiFi at coffee shops or local libraries.
- Phishing Scams – Company employees constitute the weakest link in virtual security. At least 90%6 of successful online scams begin with phishing scams. These are emails that appear to come from trusted sources, with links for the recipient to follow for a seemingly innocuous or critical task. They are a used to steal login credentials and other personal or professional data that could be used to perpetrate other scams and schemes.
- Shared & Insecure Devices – When working from home, laptops, mobile phones, and tablets are often used by family members (especially with many kids now doing remote learning). Business devices and data could be compromised when accessed by multiple users at home.
- Malware – When used at home, company-provided or personal devices do not enjoy the same security protection available at the office. Remote employees may not diligently maintain firewalls and security software updates. Failure to maintain security apps current leaves the door open to potential viruses and other malware incidents.
- Physical Security – Theft of devices used for remote work poses an additional threat. Having robust network access and sign-in security rules prevent stolen devices from being used to compromise company and customers’ data.
When considering the future of your workforce, even when the pandemic crisis is more resolved, it remains essential to understand the potential risks involved in any employee arrangement. Virtual teams can offer significant benefits, but can also require upping your IT and cybersecurity investments to ensure your business and customer data remains secure.
Hope this blog was helpful. Stay safe!